One-score decisions continue to be unkind to the Navy men's lacrosse team.
For the second time in as many contests, the Midshipmen squandered an opportunity to cement a victory in the final 30 seconds. On Sunday, that missed chance opened the door for host Georgetown to emerge with a 9-8 win in overtime before an announced attendance of 2,613 at Multi-Sport Field in Washington.
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Junior attackman Jeff Fountain, a Lutherville native and St. Paul's graduate, took a feed from redshirt junior midfielder Zac Guy, curled around the left post and deposited the ball behind senior goalkeeper Nolan Hickey to even the Hoyas' record at 1-1.
Navy (2-2) suffered its second straight loss in heartbreaking fashion. The team had an opportunity Tuesday to break a 9-9 tie against No. 18 Fairfield in the final minute, but the offense couldn't hit the net, and the Stags got a goal with 4.1 seconds left to win, 10-9.
The Midshipmen had the ball for the final 30.8 seconds, but could not get a shot off against Georgetown before time expired.
Navy suffered its 11th one-goal loss in the past four years. Over that same span, the team has won just four one-goal contests.
"It's frustrating," said junior attackman Sam Jones (Severna Park), who led the offense with three goals. "When you step on the field, you expect to win. I expect to win every time I touch the lacrosse field. So do my teammates. When you're not winning, it's no fun. When you're losing by one goal and the way that we've lost by one goal, I saw both of those games and never thought we were going to lose. Throughout the whole game, I thought we were winning the game. It's frustrating."
The Hoyas opened overtime with redshirt junior long-stick midfielder Tyler Knarr winning his 13th faceoff in 19 attempts. The Midshipmen almost forced a turnover, but could not corral the loose ball. Seconds later, sophomore midfielder Charles McCormick drew a Navy double team at the right point. McCormick passed the ball to Guy at the top of the box, and he found Fountain wide open for the game-winning goal.
"The play was a little disheveled," said Fountain, who finished with three goals. "Got the ball back up top to Zac Guy, and he saw that no one was guarding me. I cut to the backside, and he hit me with a pass from up top, and the goalie stepped out and I just put it low."
Midshipmen coach Rick Sowell said doubling McCormick was not part of the defensive game plan.
"The young man thought he could make a play," Sowell said. "Unfortunately, he didn't get there in time. … We couldn't make the play, and he was standing there wide open. Tough for Nolan, but give them credit. They hung in there and battled and didn't give up when we had the early lead."
Fountain's heroics highlighted Navy's inability to protect a 4-1 advantage midway through the second quarter. After Georgetown opened the scoring seven seconds into the game when Knarr won a faceoff and passed the ball to senior attackman Brian Casey (two goals and two assists), who hit sophomore attackman Reilly O'Connor for the tic-tac-toe goal, the Hoyas didn't score for another 28:15.
The Midshipmen's largest lead in the second half was at 5-3 with 11:02 left in the third quarter, but Georgetown tied it at 5-5 with 5:26 left, and Navy could not preserve three one-goal leads in the half.
The Hoyas endured their second overtime game of the season, but unlike the 11-10 loss to Lafayette on Feb. 16, they were able to escape with the victory. Coach Kevin Warne, the former Maryland defensive coordinator who succeeded Dave Urick in August, said he thought that overtime setback benefitted Georgetown.
"I thought the confidence of going down early and allowing ourselves to get back into the game, I thought our guys fought through that adversity," Warne said. "I don't know if we really handled that well last week. Athletics is an unbelievable teaching tool that allowed us to learn from last week and progress this week."